Sunday, December 27, 2009

Precious Children

I first want to say that I am so grateful for my mom! She is amazing and has been so great to me in my life. If it weren't for her, I don't know that I could have made it through the things I did. She always showed me her love and never let me go to bed at night without saying "I love you."

But I didn't always feel precious as a child. I have had such issues with self worth and even at the age of 11 I felt like I didn't measure up to others.

Having my children has made me realize how much each and every child is precious. They are each made to be individuals, even if raised exactly the same way, they are each different.

Austin is very cheerful and seems to always see the good in every situation. He can have a great day even if someone punches him in the gut at school. He makes a lot of friends easily and quickly. He is sweet and empathetic and almost always has a smile to share.

Heath is more reserved, until you get to know him. He is artistic, and thoughtful, and highly intelligent. He takes awhile to really make a friend, but once he does, he is loyal and very fun to be around. He is kind, helpful and gives very good advice.

On Christmas day this year, an old friend from my Girl Scout camp days, lost her daughter to an illness she has been battling her whole life. I never met Kayla, but I know she was loved and was a beautiful girl. Her life was full of struggles, but she fought the long hard battle with strength and courage. Her mother Amy is filled with grief, and my prayers are with her.

This event really made me think about the preciousness of children, no matter if we only have them for a brief time or get to see them grow into adults. The time that they are children is fleeting and I feel more people need to be reminded of that.

Blessings to you Amy as you go through this trial, my thoughts and prayers are with you and I hope that you find peace.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I'm a Survivor?

I have been through a lot of counseling services, both in-patient and out-patient since I was about 13 years old. I have been told that I am a "survivor" of childhood trauma. It is true, I am. But it seems that I have let that define who I am.

Taking on the word "survivor" over "victim" is definitely an improvement, however, I am not sure that is what I want to be known for. I have done so much more than "survive," I have grown, lived, thrived even. I am a strong, healthy, intelligent, kind woman that is learning to love herself more each day. I want that to be what I am known for, not the things from my past that I have overcome.

Don't get me wrong, those things have shaped who I have become and even the most horrific things have taught me lessons that I needed to be the woman I am today. I just don't want that to be the thing that people think of when they think of me. I want to MORE! I want the following words to describe me, and like affirmations, if I repeat them enough to myself I will believe them.


Oh, I am sure there are more words that I will come up with as I move into 2010, but these are a good start. I already embody many of these, but am working towards the others!

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

I LOVE Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, LOVE 'em all! But...

For many reasons, the holidays are always rough for me. Here are just a few:

1. Most of the celebrations revolve around food.

2. My expectations are so high that I often get disappointed when things don't go just the way I thought they should.

3. I never seem to have enough money to get all the things I want for all of the people I want.

4. I find the need to be perky constantly, even when I am stressed or exhausted.

I am trying to come up with some new strategies this year to hit the "Holiday Blues" head on. I will post them as I come up with them. Do you have anything you do to de-stress during the holidays? Comment here and we can help keep each other on track!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rolling with the Punches

I feel like I have been beaten a lot lately. There is that feeling that the "world" is out to get my family and me. We can't seem to get a hold on things to turn them back around in our favor. But then I thought about the saying, "roll with the punches."

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs says that to roll with the punches is:

Fig. to absorb the force of a blow, as in boxing. You have to learn to roll with the punches. Accept what is dealt to you. Paul could never roll with the punches. He always had to get even.

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

I think I am over absorbing the blows. I am ready to fight back, to put my own "punch" out to the universe. I want to show that I am tougher than I appear. I have taken a lot in my life, but I deserve joy and happiness too. I am ready to enjoy everything life has to offer.

I will start each day stating that it WILL be a good day. When rolling out of bed, my first words will be positive. I will re-train my brain to think happier thoughts. I will not dwell on the tough things. The Serenity Prayer comes to mind:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

What would happen if I stopped worrying about everything?

Would I find joy in the little things?

Would I feel healthier in spirit AND body?

I'll let you know how it goes!

I am through with "rolling with the punches!"

Friday, November 13, 2009

Losing is not an option

I have found that I have a tendency to be a bit competitive. I love Facebook, I really do. I love the fact that I have connected with some long lost friends and have gotten to know some people from my childhood better. But I have a problem with it...I am addicted to all of the apps! I have to play until I beat EVERYONE'S score! What is up with that? I think it feeds into my addictive personality as well as my need for perfection. I don't know how much of a problem that need for perfection in online games is, but it is something I probably should monitor!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Keep Learning

As a young person, I thought I knew it all and no one could teach me anymore! As I got older, I realized how much I do NOT know.

The world is big and ever changing and sometimes it is overwhelming. I thought I might be too old to learn things. You know the saying, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks," I thought that was meant just for me.

I am a quick learner, but I really thought that maybe I just had reached my limit. Today I took a class that I hoped would give me a few pointers on how to run the computer programs I use every day a little bit better. I really didn't think I would get a lot out of it. Boy was I WRONG! I learned so much today and it invigorated me! I want to learn more.

I have put off going back to school for a lot of reasons, but today made me re-think that. What might the future hold for me? Hold on and let's find out!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Enjoying What My Body Can Do

Instead of focusing on what I do not like about my body right now, I am choosing to focus on what it is that my body allows me to do. I have many limitations right now, but there is so much more than running or hiking that I can do.

I can smell the autumn air and feel the crisp coolness of the breeze on my skin. These moments are limited here in Florida, so I enjoy them when they come. I love the autumnal smells, leaves, wood fires, apples, pumpkins. I love the memories that fall brings to mind, hay rides, bonfires, cider, pumpkin bars and soft warm sweaters.

I can hug my children and husband. I can hold them in my arms and feel their arms around me. That feeling cannot be beat, the warmth, the love that I feel in their presence is immense and overwhelming at times. I tear up thinking about how much I love them and how much they love me. Love, the perfect gift!

I can pet my dogs, feel their soft fur under my hand. Tickle their bellies and watch them roll around in excitement and love. I never thought I would be a dog person, but those two have my heart!

I can feel the warmth of a soft blanket fresh from the dryer! Letting myself get lost in the fluffy warmth that gets me all toasty inside!

These are simple things, but they were almost ripped away from me by this eating disorder. I am so blessed to have sought treatment and got the help I needed. I know that the journey isn't always easy, but remembering the simple pleasures of life helps me get through the hard times!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Today is a new day

I have not been writing lately and to be honest it is because I have been struggling to maintain my recovery. I had some setbacks in my health and was derailed with negative thoughts. I didn't want to blog about it, I didn't want to let anyone down. I ran away from my thoughts and I have been hiding out a lot. I have also run back to my first food! Wow! Feels good for a minute and then WHAM...GUILT! I have decided that writing it all down and trying to remain focused on recovery is the only way to go. This entry is "stream of consciousness," today and I am just letting it roll out of my thoughts and through my fingers! Everyone has setbacks in their journey through recovery. I am not alone and that feels good, even if it is kind of sad. I wish there was some magic spell or pill that would suddenly make me want to eat right, exercise correctly, take my medicine regularly and love the body I am in. Today is a good day, I am determined to get over the sadness and the regret and the guilt and the negativity. If you have a strategy for defeating the duldrums...leave a comment here on the blog. Let's make this a place of healing and support! I believe we, the survivors, can win this war if we fight the battles together!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Finding a Reason to Live

Every day is a gift, that is why it is called the present.

When someone first asked me why I was trying to kill myself, I was dumbfounded. I didn't understand, yet it made perfect sense. I didn't think anyone understood the aching inside of me, that no one could know how much I wanted the pain to stop. I wasn't actively trying to die, but passively it seemed I was.

Starvation is a death sentence.

I had to really search deep to find that desire to live. I wasn't sure there was a reason. I was so gripped with depression that I didn't think anything good would ever happen to me again.

Then I thought about my children, I thought about my wonderfully supportive husband, I thought about the friends that loved me. There was a light at the end of the tunnel, and this time it did not seem like an oncoming train.

These glimpses of light started the journey. I could focus on good things, even the smell of sheets dried on the line, or the beauty of a daisy, the love of my family and friends. These are all good things, but just the beginning.

I had to find the desire within myself to live my life and to live it fully.

It took a long time, it was painful to focus so much attention on me and my needs. It was rough to change my perspective about myself. I had been so negative about myself for so long that thinking positively was so foreign to me.

I found my joy for life deep within myself. I was truly worth love and joy! I want to experience life to its fullest, and I am beginning to do that.

I was put on this earth to fulfill a purpose. I think I may be seeing it come to life right now, to share my story. I hope to inspire you on your journey, wherever it may take you. I hope that you will use my story in whatever way you want, a cautionary tale, a glimpse of a way out of a downward spiral, whatever.

Very soon it will be my 38th birthday, in about half an hour actually. It is a time to celebrate life and what I have accomplished in my life. Thank you for helping me to do that!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How to Help Your Friend with an Eating Disorder

So, you think your friend has an eating disorder. What do you do? How can you be supportive? What next? I am hoping this will help you find some ways to help. It is a long journey, and your friend will probably be scared,angry, upset and may not even admit they have a problem. It starts with that first step when they say they have a problem.

I admitted that I had a problem that day in the hospital, but did not want to go in for treatment. I thought of every reason why I shouldn't. I also kept saying, "I'm okay," "I'll change," "I'll stop," etc.

I really had to get to the point where I realized that I was helpless over this disease and that I needed help immediately. I was blessed that there was an opening at the hospital in Kansas City where the physicians in St. Joseph thought I should go. I went in less than a week after admitting that I had a problem with eating.

How do you support your friend? Here is a link that I posted a few days ago, but I liked it Teens Health from Nemours and a little of what they have to say:

Being a supportive friend also means learning how to behave around someone with an eating disorder. Here are some ways to support a friend who is battling an eating problem:

  • Try your best not to talk about food, weight, diets, or body shape (yours, your friend's, or even a popular celebrity's).
  • Try not to be too watchful of your friend's eating habits, food amounts, and choices.
  • Try not to make statements like, "If you'd just eat (or stop working out so much), you'll get better."
  • Focus on your friend's strengths — that he or she has a great smile, is helpful and friendly, or good at math or art.
  • Try to avoid focusing on how your friend looks physically.

Most important, remind your friend that you're there no matter what. You want to help him or her get healthy again. Sometimes you'd be surprised how asking simple questions such as "what can I do to help?" or "what would make you feel better?" can lead to a great conversation about how you can help your friend heal.

Teens Health from Nemours

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How to Tell if Your Friend has an Eating Disorder

After telling people my story, I almost always get the following question:

"How can I help my friend, I think she/he has an eating disorder?"

This is a hard question to answer, because people are so concerned with body image these days. Your friend that is trying to shed a few pounds, may be perfectly okay. Your other friend that is going to the gym for 3 hours at a time may be training for a marathon. I found something that will help you in your determining whether it is harmless, or something you might want to pursue.

Teen's Health from Nemours has listed the following signs that your friend's idea of normal dieting has slipped into the obsessive category of an eating disorder:
  • Your friend has an obsession with weight and food (more than general comments about how many calories he or she eats in a day). It might seem like your friend talks about food, weight and being thin and nothing else.
  • Your friend knows exactly how many calories and fat grams are in everything that he or she eats — and is constantly pointing this out.
  • Your friend feels the need to exercise all the time, even when sick or exhausted.
  • Your friend avoids hanging out with you and other friends during meals. For example, he or she avoids the school cafeteria at lunch or the coffee shop or diner where you usually meet on weekends.
  • Your friend starts to wear big or baggy clothes. Lots of people wear baggy clothes as a fashion statement, but someone who wears baggy clothes to hide their shape might have other issues.
  • Your friend goes on dramatic or very restrictive diets, cuts food into tiny pieces, moves food around on the plate instead of eating it, and is very precise about how food is arranged on the plate.
  • Your friend seems to compete with others about how little they eat. If a friend proudly tells you she only had a diet soda for breakfast and half an apple for lunch, it's a red flag that she could be developing an eating disorder.
  • Your friend goes to the bathroom a lot, especially right after meals, or you've heard your friend vomiting after eating.
  • Despite losing a lot of weight, your friend always talks about how fat he or she is.
  • Your friend appears to be gaining a lot of weight even though you never see him or her eat (people with bulimia often only eat diet food in front of their friends).
  • Your friend is very defensive or sensitive about his or her weight loss or eating habits.
  • Your friend buys or takes laxatives, steroids, or diet pills.
  • Your friend has a tendency to faint, bruises easily, is very pale, or starts complaining of being cold more than usual (cold intolerance can be a symptom of being underweight).
I will write more about how you can help in a later post.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


It has been hard for me to keep friends. I could make friends easily enough, but they didn't last.

I am sure there are many reasons why, the majority of them of my own making.

I have a tendency to wear a mask, and it is funny, witty, smart, caring, etc. I come off as a great person and then things break down. Sometimes it burns out fast, other times it fizzles out slowly.

I can be needy, whining, complaining and demanding. I try not to play the victim role, but old habits are hard to break.I used to think that the only way people would care about me was if they felt sorry for me. I would be so pathetic that they wouldn't leave me because they would feel too guilty. I wanted so badly to be loved. I didn't take good care of myself. I would not eat right, not take my medications correctly, and generally created a mess.

None of this I did consciously. I didn't sit down and say, "Hey, if I get sick, people will love me." It has only been after years of introspection that have I been able to realize why I didn't have any friends that lasted for very long.

We have moved around quite a bit, and I always had the intention of staying in touch, but I rarely did. This is because I thought it would be easier to cut things off before they did. I didn't want to be left. I think this is how I handled ALL of my relationships until my husband came along. I left before they could leave me.

It all comes down to self worth. I did not feel worthy of love. I thought that I was unlovable.

I have since learned otherwise. I have some friends that have not given up on me. I have a husband that loves me unconditionally. These are all such great things, but not enough.

I had to learn to love myself. I had to learn that deep down I was enough. The person that I was born to be was just enough. I don't have to be anything for anyone, other than what I am.

What an amazing revelation that was. That was the key to getting well.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Get Over It!

This is an excerpt from the book I am writing. Comments welcome!

I went through all of the motions of being "OK" with everything. I told just about everyone about the abuse and that I was so over it.


To everyone, but especially to myself.

I thought that if I talked about it enough, I would be okay. That's what the woeld would say...get it all out, don't bottle it up.

I was doing a lot of talking, but not a lot of feeling. I shoved the feelings of shame, abandonment, fear, terror, guilt, pain, anger, suffering, loneliness and trauma (among others) so far down that I didn't even know they were there.

I thought that I was the poster child for "getting over it," and "moving on." I was, however, the queen of stuffed feelings.

I was great at giving advice, speaking in public, and saying what I knew people wanted to hear. I was dying inside.

I wanted someone to see the pain I was in, but I didn't want to say anything. I expected those that loved me to see it, I wanted mind readers. I had very unrealistic requirements of those that saide they loved me.

I often latched on to people that showed me any attention. I clung so tightly that I pushed them away.

If I had a long-distance friend, I would just ignore their calls and letters. I moved on, knowing in my heart that they would drop me if I was too "clingy."

I had some skewed logic, I know. I still don't totally understand it.

Resisting Eating Disorder Relapse

Lately I have been going through a lot. Things are not easy, and I really have to rely on healthy ways of coping with it.

In the past I would have restricted my eating, overate, not taken my meds properly, or a myriad of things. I would have isolated myself from my friends and family and not let them know how stressed and scared I was. I still struggle with these things, but have found other ways of dealing with it.

I have a relapse prevention plan that I filled out each time I left the hospital. I obviously didn't use it very well at least two times, but I am getting better and better at using the plan.

I found one online and it seems to be a good one. It is on and I really like the layout.

By coming up with strategies on how to handle difficult situations or "triggers" it makes it easier to overcome them. This can really apply to anyone, even if you don't have an eating disorder. Do you have a tendency to isolate yourself when you get stressed? Do you have trouble controlling your anger? There can be many things that "set us off" on the road we would rather not take. By filling out this form and coming up with strategies on how to face those difficult decisions, you may be able to find a way to stop the destructive behaviors in your life.

  • I am trying to use all healthy outlets when Edith starts to rear her ugly head.
  • I am using this blog as a way of reaching out to others that struggle.
  • I am writing in a journal.
  • I am talking to my very best friends about how hard things are, and that I need them to keep me stay on track. They cannot do it for me, but they are my support system.
  • I have put my meals and meds on a schedule and stick to it even when I don't feel like it. Until the stressers are gone, I have to maintain this schedule.

There are other things I can do to get me through the tough times. I will blog about those at another time. Take care and take this with you...

I have the power to change myself

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Long for Control

I have written about how much I wanted to fit in and be beautiful. I wanted to be that ideal weight, have the right hair, etc. I became obsessed with looking like those I admired in Hollywood. I have always felt plain at my best, disgusting at my worst. That is true, but it isn't the whole story.

If you read my previous post about my letter to Edith, you might understand this post better. It was about the control. I craved some sort of control in my life and at the time thought that by deciding what did and what did not go into my body was the only way to find that control.

I am a survivor of abuse. I felt that I had little control over what happened to my body. There was someone else that had that control.

I wanted to take back that control.

Once I started losing weight, and people gave me positive feedback about that, the monster known as Edith appeared.

I lied to those I loved. I hid from those that loved me. I embraced the eating disorder as if it were the only thing that mattered.

I could control what did and did not go into my body. I could control what I did and did not do. At least I thought I had that control, but again, it grew and took over my every waking and sleeping moment. At some point I was helpless to fight it.

It took others to see me in pain, and to reach in and pull me out.

Suddenly I had to look at Edith square on and see what was really happening to me, and what I was doing to myself with the choices I made. I was no longer blind to the hell I was putting my body and spirit to. Edith is evil, yes, but she is also "me."

I believe that most people want to have control over what happens to them, and I also believe that we give up that control with choices we make. Sometimes it is mperceptible, sometimes it is obvious.

Maybe you are angry at someone. You can't stop thinking about what they did to hurt you. The thoughts start to consume you. Do you believe that the person you are angry with is actually hurt by your feelings? Do you think they waste a moment worrying about you? That anger has taken over your life.

By recognizing the thing that has control over our lives, we can take steps to take the control back. That is what I am trying to do. Will you join me in this fight?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Raising confident children when I lack confidence

As I write this entry, I am thinking about my role as a mother. I want to instill in my children a sense of confidence and teach them to live their lives courageously. How do I do that when I have had such poor self esteem? That has been my concern from the time I got pregnant 16 years ago.

In our house we have tried to stay away from words such as "fat" or "skinny." Teaching my kids that there is so much more to a person than his or her weight.

I have also told them to always ask if they want to do something, even if they think we can't afford it or we might say no. I was afraid to hear the word no, because I felt that if my parents said no, then it was a rejection of me. It doesn't hurt to ask. Hearing the word "no" is not anything against them. We try to give them an explanation as well, not just a "because I said so." Sometimes that is not easy to do, but it helps them to not take the no as a rejection of who they are.

I have also made a decision to let my children try things, even if I think they might have difficulty with it, or it might not be the right fit. I have a son that is hard of hearing, if he decides that he wants to be a singer in his life, I will help him find ways to do that. I won't tell him he is Pavarotti if he struggles (like some of those poor people on those singing competition shows that can't sing but have been told they are amazing by their loved ones), but we will find him a voice coach to help him find the best way for him to accomplish his goals. I don't want to say to him, "you can't do that because you have trouble hearing." I might say, "okay, so you want to sing for a living? What can we do to make that happen?" I want to encourage them in their lives.

I don't believe in constant praise, no matter what a child does. I think that there need to be consequences for behaviors that are unacceptable. That being said, I try not to be negative in my words to my children. I have not always been successful, and I have often asked for my children's forgiveness. I believe that admitting I am wrong, shows them that it is okay to make mistakes and that they are important enough to me that I will apologize when necessary. They are not my "property" and even though they are not adults, they are worthy of respect.

I remember how weird it felt when my mom would come to me after an argument and apologize. It also felt really good. Because I was old enough to know she overreacted, but I also knew my friends' parents didn't apologize to them. It made me feel valued. I only wish that I would have apologized to her more, I know now that I overreacted a lot more than she did! Sorry mom!

These are just a few things that I have used to raise my children to be more confident than me. My boys are 15 & 16 years old, and they are definitely worlds ahead of me! I am so proud of the young men they are becoming.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Banishing Negative Thoughts

I decided when writing this blog that I would not be negative, that I would post all of the positive things happening in my life. I would tell you about how I have overcome so many obstacles to being well. I would "banish all negative thoughts."

It is not easy to do that, and to be totally honest, it is
really difficult right now. I am going through a lot at this time, physically, mentally, spiritually and financially. I am using all of the great coping skills I learned in my recovery process. Both in-patient and out-patient therapies. But I will not lie to you, it is still tough.

I have found this technique helpful as I try to live a life full of positive thoughts and healthy habits.

Challenge Yourself for: 24 Hours

Today, use this simple technique for quieting your negative thoughts. Choose a poem or prayer from one of your favorite books and spend a little time memorizing it. The next time you hear your inner critic, banish the negativity by repeating your favorite poem (or affirmation) instead.

This is one of my affirmations that I like to repeat to myself when I am feeling especially negative

"Every day I choose to let go of a little more negativity, so that I may trust in the goodness of life."


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Words Can Really Hurt

I was surfing the net and found a blog post by the Orlando Sentinel's Becky Williams that really hit home. It is about how we talk about ourselves and the influence that has on others in our lives. Especially children.

How often have I said, "Do I look fat in this?" "Gosh I feel so huge today!"

Those words hang in the air, and stick in the minds of young people. They are so impressionable, and as much as they like to say they don't care what we say, they do. They are watching us, seeing how we approach life, the good, the bad & the ugly.

I vow to use only positive language when speaking about myself and others.

What about you?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Numbing my Feelings

My feelings are a blessing.

One thing about eating disorders that I hadn't fully realized until I was in treatment, is that I was numbing out. The way someone might use alcohol or drugs to disconnect from their feelings, I was using Edith. I didn't like feeling sad, angry, scared, anxious, etc.

By starving myself, my body was shutting down all non-vital functions to keep me alive. One of those functions was the ability to acknowledge my feelings and to connect with others around me.

We live in a scary world, there is violence, economic troubles, natural disasters and many other things that make it hard to live. I acknowledge that, but by blocking out all of the bad feelings, I also blocked the good ones. I couldn't feel the joy of watching my sons play baseball, or learn how to ride their bikes. I couldn't enjoy the taste of my favorite foods, or savor the feeling of being in my husband's arms.

This affirmation made me stop and realize that each of my feelings is a blessing, be they "good" or "bad," they are mine. I may still struggle with not wanting to feel those negative emotions, who doesn't? But the bad times make the good times feel so much better. I love watching my kids grow up, I love seeing them accomplish new things. I know I am truly blessed, and that my feelings truly are a blessing.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Finding Joy in the Little Things

"The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions,—the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment in the disguise of a playful raillery, and the countless other infinitesimals of pleasant thought and feeling."
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I have a bad habit of thinking that I will be better when ______________ happens. It could be anything. I will be better when "I am wealthy." I will be better when "my skin clears up." I will be better when "I lose 5 more pounds." Whatever it is, I believe that it is the magic ingredient that will make all of my problems disappear and make my life complete.

The problem with the magical thinking is that it rarely works. Having the money, clear skin, smaller waistline doesn't make the underlying problems disappear. So I would go in search of something more, or less if we are speaking of weight loss. Each pound that I loss only made me sadder and less able to cope with stress, but I didn't see that while I was in the midst of the struggle. It made me sicker, weaker, more depressed, which only compounded my problems.

I had to learn to find joy in the moment. To be content with where I am. This is still a struggle for me. I worry about this economic crisis, I worry about my kids and their health, I worry about what tomorrow will bring. But life is a mix of good and bad, and by learning to find the joy in the little things makes it easier to get through the big bad ugly things.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I am Perfect Just the Way I am

"Don't worry-it doesn't matter. You don't have to be like anyone else, because you're already perfect. We're all unique, we're all different. And you, too, have something wonderful to share with the world."
~Jennifer Read Hawthorne

I know I am not alone in saying that I have tried to be many different people. I have tried to be the "perfect (fill in the blank)." I had an image in my head of what that should be, what my hair, nails, clothes, shoes, weight should be. I thought I should be a certain way, act a certain way, feel a certain way.

I call this "shoulding" on myself.

Over the years I have been learning that what/who I should really be is...ME.

We have each been given gifts and talents to get us through life. It is as if we are one body, each of us performing our part so that things get accomplished. If I am not doing what I am meant to do, then it throws off the entire body.

I loved it when the SNL character Stuart Smalley said:
"Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!" It was meant to make people laugh, but you know what, it is true just the same!

Daily Affirmations

I am starting something new here on the blog.

When I was admitted to the hospital each time for treatment, (three times total) there were several things that each place had in common. One was affirmations.

Merriam-Webster defines Affirmation as follows:
  • Main Entry: af·fir·ma·tion
  • Pronunciation: \ˌa-fər-ˈmā-shən\
  • Function: noun
  • Date: 15th century
1 a : the act of affirming b : something affirmed : a positive assertion

A positive assertion, I like that. It is believed that stating something positive over and over will re-train the brain to accept the positive message over the negative one that was being used before.

I am a visual person, and I view it like this:

I had a tape player (for you young ones out there, an MP3 player) that was on a continuous loop in my head. It played all kinds of horrible things for me. Ugly things.

By not only repeating a positive statement to myself over and over inside my head, but also stating it aloud, I was re-formatting that tape. I was replacing the ugliness with beauty.

I would tape statements to my mirror and every time I looked in that mirror and wanted to pick my appearance apart, I would read them. Eventually I was able to believe some of them. Some are still more difficult than others, but it does get easier.

Today I am going to give you a quote that I like, it is encouraging me to try and to not give up.

"I faced the woman in the mirror and asked, 'How will you ever know what you can do if you don't try?' "
~Chris Mullins

Friday, August 14, 2009

Do I have an eating disorder, or am I just dieting?

I follow this blog, and she has a lot of great information. I liked this post, responding to an article asking the above question

The misunderstanding that captures it all

Shared via AddThis

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Recovery is a Journey, not a Destination

I was released from the hospital on Monday.

It was not for the eating disorder, but the hospital always brings that up for me. I always have to tell them about Edith, and the questions start. I even had a nurse tell me that he hated his fat self and hated fat people. I had to draw on my coping tools and remember that his opinion had nothing to do for me. I was actually able to let it go and move on. He was really my favorite nurse.

I realized that I had made another turn in my journey. His comments before would have sent me reeling and ready to embrace Edith. It didn't happen.

I have to be honest that I struggle every day with my eating disorder. I sometimes struggle every minute. I have to make a choice to eat and take my meds as directed. I have to remind myself that I am worthy of self-love and self-care.

I did it! I overcame an obstacle and I am proud of myself!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance...Addiction

I am a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance. I was watching and enjoying it when Kayla and Kupono were given a Mia Michaels routine. I love her routines, even if she is a bit, shall we say flaky? She seems to put her heart and soul into them. This time she tackled the subject of addiction. It pulled me in from start to finish. There were other routines this season that tugged at my heart strings, I mean the Tyce Diorio breast cancer dance? Come on!

But Mia captured my feelings about Edith so well. The struggle to be stronger than the addiction. The way the addiction grabs hold of you and won't let go. It was

Thursday, August 6, 2009

There will never be a more beautiful you

This song is very inspiring to me. It really says everything that I want to say. Please comment and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Everywhere I look there are skinny women

I am an entertainment junkie. I love sitcoms, soaps, dramas, movies, celebrities. Maybe it's because I wanted to be an actress or maybe it is just the times we live in. I love the celebrity gossip, I love to see who's wearing what. I love it all! I used to pour over all of the magazines and I would see these actresses and actors and wanted to know everything about them.


I looked at the magazines and I thought,
"She has it all! She has the career I want, the life I want, the body I want!" I wanted to be just like them.
I thought that if I could look like her, all of my troubles would melt away. I thought that if I was thinner, I could get everything I wanted...a career in show business, love, acceptance from everyone. People would admire me and want to be like me.

I was deluded. I realize now that I was trying to avoid real life. I didn't like the way things were, life seemed so out of control. I had been diagnosed with Diabetes, my husband had to work two jobs to take care of us, both of my children had health struggles as infants, my toddler was diagnosed with a moderately severe hearing loss and so on and so on. I needed something in my life that I had control over. Something that I thought would change my circumstances.

By trying to be "like them" I was avoiding real life. I thought that I had control. I thought that by controlling what went into my body and how much exercise I did would give me power. I also liked the comments I was getting regarding my weight loss. I thought I was getting the life I had always wanted.

I was wrong. I was losing control by the minute. Each time I chose not to eat, or to binge, or to over-exercise, Edith got her claws into me a little deeper. Until finally she totally consumed my every waking thought as well as my nightmares.

I thought about food night and day. I thought about my "disgusting" body at all times. Every time I would be around other people, all I could think was "they must think I am the fattest thing alive. I must disgust them." So I isolated myself.

Trying to be thin and like all of those celebrities I admired was slowly killing me.

I know now that when people meet me, they aren't thinking about my size or what I am wearing or how my hair looks. They are thinking about what I think about them. The majority of people out there have something about themselves that they don't like.

You start out happy that you have no hips or boobs. All of a sudden you get them, and it feels sloppy. Then just when you start liking them, they start drooping.
- Cindy Crawford

I'd kill myself if I was as fat as Marilyn Monroe.
Elizabeth Hurley

I look at myself and pick out the things I don't like. No matter how much I work out, I never get muscle tone in my butt and hip area.
Tyra Banks

It is not a bad thing to like celebrity gossip and watching who's wearing what. The problem comes when it becomes an obsession and a way to completely escape one's life. It is good to remember that even those that we admire have issues of their own. They are, after all, only human. Just like me!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The day they discovered I had an eating disorder

I have type 1 diabetes. I had not been to the doctor in quite awhile. My friend Glynda and my husband encouraged/made me go to a free clinic they were holding at the local hospital. They were checking blood glucose, eyes, feet, blood pressure, etc. I was trucking right along when I got to the blood pressure/heart rate station. Suddenly I was asked to sit down by the nurse, my pulse rate was 183. I didn't know what it was supposed to be but she was concerned enough to call the head of nursing over. I was placed in a wheelchair and taken to the emergency room. The nurse that was taking me had broken her arm, so the head of nursing pushed my chair. Her name was Avis, and meeting her was another turning point in my life. They left me in the ER and the doctors checked me out. A few minutes later while I was waiting for my husband to get there, Avis came back. She said she was worried about my eating. I denied any problem, and it went back and forth for a few minutes until I broke down and admitted I had a problem. It seems that while pushing me down to the ER in the wheelchair she touched my shoulder and knew that I had a problem. Her daughter had recently been released from an eating disorder treatment center. She could tell by the feel of my bony shoulder.

I was admitted to the hospital that day for heart monitoring and for referral to a treatment center. She visited me many times during that stay, and I saw her one other time while I lived there. Her grandkids went to my sons' school. I have never seen her since, but still think of Avis as an angel sent to start me on my road to recovery. I am eternally grateful, but wouldn't have admitted it at the time.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

How to write a letter to your eating disorder

I was in Baptist Medical Center in Kansas City from Thanksgiving until December 22nd of 2000 for the first treatment of my eating disorder. There were many girls and women there. The youngest was 12 and the oldest was 54. It was good to see I was not alone.

At one group session we were asked to name our eating disorders and to write a letter to "it." I thought this was stupid and a bunch of psycho babble. I was irritated and wanted to leave, but I am a rule follower by nature and started on the journey. Little did I know that in those 30 minutes my life would change. I got angry for the first time in a long time and as the tears flowed, the words came...

December 5, 2000

Dear Edith,

I just spoke with you, but I guess it never hurts to say hi again. I can't seem to get enough of you. You have become my "everything." Consuming my thoughts, my dreams, my hopes and my future. I can't imagine my life without you in the center of it. You are the one true constant in my life. There have been times that I have forsaken you, left you by the side of the road--but you are always where I left you. Waiting with hopen arms for me, saying, "Welcome home friend, I missed you. You couldn't make it without me, could you?" And I run into your outstretched arms and find my comfort there. You taught me so many things. Things that I didn't know before you came, such as:
  • I don't deserve to be healthy
  • It is selfish of me to take care of myself
  • Boys don't like fat girls
  • With you I have control
  • I am a bad girl
  • That everyone will hurt me
  • That everyone will leave me
  • That you will always be there to hold onto
You have never let me forget one of these lessons. You are so good about playing these messages back to me whenever I get too full of pride. You show me all the beautiful people on television, in the movies and on magazine covers. And then tell me how happy I could be if I were like them!

You play old home movies for me so I don't forget the pain of my past. You recorded every event of my life and play back the most painful when I start to enjoy life too much.

Oh how you have worked to keep me in my place. Oh how you have slaved to make sure I know how truly inadequate I am. I haven't given you all the credit you deserve! You are amazing! How could I even think of leaving you behind? You are my all! I am nothing without you!

But...You disgust me!!!! I am sick and tired of being sick and tired! I want to enjoy life! I want to be free! I want you out of my life! I want to have people see ME and not YOU! I want to cherish my time with my husband and children! I want to look like a woman again! I want to think of something, anything but you! I want to go out to eat with my friends and not worry about what they are thinking about me and you. I want to give up--"us!" I want ot break it off! I want you to die! I want to leave you by the side of the road and I want you gone! Don't follow me anymore; don't be waiting for my return--I won't be back! This is the last goodbye! I don't want you! I don't need you! I won't have you!


Saturday, August 1, 2009

A New Journey

My name is Rachel and I am in recovery from an eating disorder. In this blog I will start to tell my story. It is not pretty and sometimes it is very scary, but it is all true.

This blog is called Overtaking Edith because that is the name that I gave my eating disorder. She overtook my life for so long and she is what people saw when they looked at me. I have taken back control and am getting better every day!

I hope that I do not offend anyone in this process, but to get to the truth and to help others, I know that I must tell it all.

Some people reading this know most of the story, no one knows it all, not even me.

Thank you for joining me on this journey...let's dig in!